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Snowden deserves Nobel nomination

The Nobel nomination for the whistleblower-in-chief and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a brilliant piece of news that sort of reconfigures the purpose and sanctity of the top laurel, reinterpreting the myriad meanings of peace per se. While the US president Barack Obama wants to see Snowden fettered in chains and holed up in a dingy prison cell, possibly in the same fashion as the British-American soldier Bradley Manning who spent over three and half years in solitary confinement before he was sentenced to life term for his role in WikiLeaks expose, Norwegian parliamentarians have picked the intrepid ‘ethical hacker’ and cybersecurity specialist as a candidate for the world’s top peace prize. This is doubly ironic that Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate, has been the face of the draconian system, fronted by the all-spying National Security Agency (NSA), that has failed not just the brave 30-year-old rights to information hacktivist, but also everyone in this big wide world whose systemic and systematic surveillance was exposed by Snowden. In 2009, a hopeful and upbeat Oslo had enthusiastically chosen Obama as the harbinger of not peace in the past but rather peace in the future. In return, the US president has only proved to be the biggest disappointment, with his empty rhetoric on even closing down Guantanamo Bay lying in the backburner forever.

Hence, while Oslo’s second bold step in nominating Snowden doesn’t come across as a surprise, it would be little more than an exercise in liberal symbolism if Snowden isn’t allowed to return to his country and the charges against him are not withdrawn. The whistleblower who has found refuge in Putinland has categorically stated that peace-time abuses of civil liberties have been so widespread in America that no one is safe from the systemic eavesdropping that the state ritually indulges in. Snowden has underlined how these practices impinge on rights to privacy and can pose an enormous threat to the sanctity to individual liberty and information. Injustices to Snowden must be redressed, even if he doesn’t get the top laurel.
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